Oral argument calendar: Dec. 9 and 10

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The Northern Panel of the Nevada Supreme Court (Justices Cherry, Saitta and Gibbons) will hold oral arguments on Wednesday and Thursday this week in Las Vegas:

ETT, Inc. v. Delgado (Juan), Wednesday 10:00 a.m.

Docket No. 46901

This is an appeal of district court decisions in a multimillion-dollar wrongful death case.  Darwin Ellison, a temporary employee (provided by Labor Express) of ETT, Inc., was driving a company truck on work-related business without a valid driver's license and while intoxicated when he struck and killed Rosa Delgado.  Juan Delgado, on behalf of Rosa's estate, filed a wrongful death action against ETT, Labor Express, and Ellison.  After a trial in Clark County, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Delgado and awarded more than $4 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. The jury apportioned fault at 75 percent to ETT and 25 percent to Ellison.   ETT subsequently filed a motion requesting, among other things, a new trial and a reduction in the punitive damages award.  The district court granted the motion to reduce punitive damages, and reduced the punitive damages to $4,183,250.50, but denied all other requests, including the motion for new trial. The district court also dismissed Delgado's claims against Labor Express.  ETT and Delgado have both appealed the amended order and judgment.  ISSUES:  Did the district court abuse its discretion in denying ETT's motion?  Did the district court abuse its discretion by reducing the jury's award of punitive damages? 

ESP Wireless Technologies, Inc. v. Fingl (Karen) Wednesday 10:30 a.m.,

Docket Nos. 50672/50835

This appeal involves a dispute over an employment contract and the awarding of attorney fees and costs after a trial.  Karen Fingl was employed by ESP Wireless Technologies.  As a condition of her employment, Fingl entered into a non-disclosure and non-competition agreement.  After three years of employment with ESP, Fingl was fired.  She then obtained employment with Anderson Communications, a competitor of ESP.  ESP and its president, Robert Barcal, sued Fingl and Anderson for breach of contract and numerous other claims.  A Clark County jury found neither party was liable.  However, the jury found that the non-competition provision of the agreement between ESP and Fingl was unenforceable because ESP had failed to demonstrate that Fingl's employment was terminated for a commercially reasonable reason.  Based on the jury's finding, the district court awarded Fingl attorney fees and costs, but in an amount less than requested by Fingl.  These fees and costs were enforceable against ESP only, not Barcal.  ESP, Barcal, and Fingl have all appealed the court's judgment.  ISSUES:  Did the district court abuse its discretion in its rulings on the attorney fees and costs?  Was the jury's verdict supported by substantial evidence? 

Bowser (Terrence) v. State of Nevada, Wednesday 11:30 a.m. 

Docket No. 50851

In this case, Terrence Bowser is appealing his conviction for a variety of crimes, including first-degree murder.  Evidence indicated that Bowser was driving when his passenger, Jamar Green, fired his gun at the victim's car, resulting in the victim's death.  Bowser was convicted in Clark County of one count each of conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to discharge a firearm out of a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm out of a motor vehicle, conspiracy to discharge a firearm at or into a structure or vehicle, and discharging a firearm at or into a structure or vehicle.  Bowser was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 40 years.  ISSUES:  Did the district court abuse its discretion in admitting Bowser's statements to police when he had previously invoked his Miranda rights?  Did the State engage in prosecutorial misconduct?  Did the district court abuse its discretion in its evidentiary rulings? 

Gonzales (Luis) v. State of Nevada, Wednesday 1:30 p.m. 

Docket No. 51243

In this case, Luis Gonzales is appealing his conviction of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon.  The evidence indicated that Gonzales, while intoxicated, got into a fight with the victim and shot and killed him.  Gonzales was found guilty of this charge by a Clark County jury and sentenced to life imprisonment.  ISSUES:  Did the district court abuse its discretion by admitting and/or instructing the jury regarding prior bad act evidence related to Gonzales?  Did the State present sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict?

Hamler (Ronald) v. State of Nevada,  Thursday 10:00 a.m.

Docket No. 51562

Ronald Hamler is appealing his conviction by a Clark County jury for committing burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, and battery with the use of a deadly weapon.  The victim in the case claimed that Hamler forced his way into the victim's apartment, and took the victim's wallet and laptop computer.  After the victim grabbed a knife and demanded that Hamler leave the apartment, Hamler jumped on and hit the victim with a frying pan.  After the trial, Hamler filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that there was conflicting evidence.  The district court denied the motion.  ISSUES:  Are Hamler's robbery and battery convictions redundant?  Did the district court err in not allowing impeachment evidence against the victim?  Did the district court properly deny the motion for a new trial? 

Bass (Harriston) v. State of Nevada,  Thursday 10:30 a.m.

Docket Nos. 51822/53072

Harriston Bass, a doctor, is appealing his convictions for illegally dispensing large quantities of controlled substances to his patients.  One of his patients died from an overdose of prescription drugs.  Bass was convicted by a Clark County jury of one count of second-degree murder, 49 counts of sale of a controlled substance, and 6 counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sale.  The State presented evidence that while Bass was authorized to prescribe controlled substances, he did not have a license to dispense or sell the substances. Bass claimed that he was authorized to dispense/sell controlled substances and that the controlled substances that he provided to the deceased patient were not the proximate cause of her death. After his conviction, Bass filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.  ISSUES:  Did the district court properly instruct the jury?  Are the statutes under which Bass was charged and convicted constitutional?  Were some of Bass's convictions redundant?  Did the district court properly deny Bass's motion for a new trial? 

Zhang (Lanlin) v. Reconstrust Co., Thursday 11:30 a.m.

Docket Nos. 52326/52835

This matter involves a dispute over an attempt to purchase a Las Vegas home and an award of costs resulting from subsequent litigation.  Lanlin Zhang entered into a contract to purchase Frank Sorichetti's home, but when a dispute arose over the purchase agreement, Zhang sued Sorichetti and recorded a lis pendens against the property.  After the district court ordered the lis pendens canceled, Zhang filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court granted the writ petition in part and directed that the order canceling the lis pendens be vacated. As proceedings continued in the district court, Sorichetti sought a refinance loan on the property.  Prior to issuing the loan, National Title Company concluded that no cloud of title existed.  National Title, along with Reconstrust Company and Silver State Financial Services, Inc., then issued the loan to Sorichetti.  Sorichetti defaulted on the loan and foreclosure proceedings were begun.  After being informed of foreclosure proceedings, Zhang recorded a notice of fraudulent release of lis pendens and amended her complaint in the district court to assert claims against National Title, Reconstrust, and Silver State Financial, challenging the viability of the companies' deeds of trust and contending that her lis pendens should be given priority over those deeds of trust.  After a one-day bench trial, the district court determined that Zhang could purchase the property from Sorichetti, but that the companies' two deeds of trust must be satisfied before Zhang could do so.  The district court also ordered Zhang to pay the companies' costs of defending the lawsuit.  ISSUES:  Did the district court properly determine the priority of the lis pendens?  Should the district court have quieted title in Zhang's name?  Did the district court properly award costs to the companies? 

George (Donald) v. State of Nevada,  Thursday 1:30 p.m.

Docket Nos. 52807

In this case, Donald George is appealing his second conviction for multiple sex offenses involving a young girl who was living in his home more than two decades ago in Clark County.  George originally was convicted in 1985.  George attempted to file an appeal from that conviction, but the district court clerk failed to file and transmit the notice of appeal.  In 2006, the Supreme Court reversed George's 1985 conviction because the clerk's failure to file and transmit the notice deprived him of the opportunity to prosecute an appeal.  After a retrial, the jury found George guilty of sexual assault of a minor and lewdness with a minor.  George is now appealing that conviction.  ISSUES:  Did the district court abuse its discretion when it allowed two of the State's witnesses to testify as experts?  Are George's convictions for sexual assault and lewdness redundant?  Was the evidence sufficient to support George's conviction?  



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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on December 7, 2009 9:08 AM.

US Supreme Court issues two per curiam decisions was the previous entry in this blog.

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